Kitchen Management 321 - Motivation

 

Rationale:

Working with staff that are motivated to work is unquestionably easier than attempting to force people to do the job.  Motivated employees will be happier, do better work and stay with you longer than people who are going through the motions without interest or caring.  Motivation can be compared to a car.  With a good, well-tuned engine, it is easy to get the car to wherever you need to go.  If the car is missing on some cylinders and poorly tuned, you can still get to where you want to go.  You may have to push the car up a hill but you can get there.  Motivated staff are like the car with the good engine while unmotivated staff are like the poor engine.  What happens when you stop pushing?

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, you will be able to . . .

explain motivational theories and techniques

Enabling Objectives

  1. discuss the importance of motivation in food service.
  2. examine the application of theories of motivation.
  3. consider motivation techniques.

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Objective 1

When you complete this objective you will be able to...

discuss the importance of motivation in food service.

Learning Activity

Complete each of the Activities listed below :

In your notes:

List things that might be considered to be external motivators.
Write a paragraph outlining what motivates you to do your best work.  Would these be internal or external motivators?

Learning Material

Poor motivation = poor work

Motivation can be considered as internal or external.  Internal motivators are inside the individual. These are things that make him want to do a good job for his own reasons such as pride of accomplishment, a desire to live up to the expectations of a respected supervisor etc.  External motivators are things outside the individual that cause him to work such as wages, the desire to avoid discipline from the boss and so on.

Internally motivated people will do their best for their own reasons while externally motivated staff  need outside drive.  In either case, when the employee is motivated, work will be done.  When she is not motivated, there will be less work of poorer quality.  There will be more quarrels among the staff and higher turnover.  Instead of "keeping their eyes on the ball" and doing what is best for the customer, un-motivated employees will look for the easy way out or do whatever supports their particular quarrels and interests.  "People doing what needs to be done because they want to do it."

While un-motivated staff can be made to get the work done, the manager will need to spend an inordinate amount of time supervising and pushing, resolving problems and conflicts.  Staff who are motivated by external means are only slightly better than entirely un-motivated employees as the operation must continually provide that external motivation.  Like the car with the poor engine, you can get there but slowly and you don't dare stop pushing.

An excellent discussions on motivation  can be found:

Role of Managers and styles of management
Colorado School of Mines

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Objective 2

When you complete this objective you will be able to...

examine theories of motivation.

Learning Activity

Complete each of the Activities listed below :

In your notes:

Categorize each of the following theories as external or internal motivators.

Learning Material

There are several theories as to what motivates people.  We will examine several of these with regard to food service and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Fear

The chef is in the kitchen and he finds something wrong.  He yells and screams, heaping abuse on the employee who hasn't met expectations.  Does motivation by fear work?  Will employees work to avoid abuse?  Certainly, for a time.  Turnover will be high and employees will only do what they must to keep out of trouble.  The chef will have to be in the kitchen at all times or nothing will go right.  He will be quite right in saying that he needs to be in the kitchen all the time if things are to go smoothly.  Don't even think about taking a holiday!  Abuse may be verbal or physical - insults, screaming or actual attacks. 
 

The "carrot and the stick"

This might be considered an extension of motivation by fear, possibly a slight improvement.  The chef who motivates by fear might argue that employees who screw need to be punished for it.  Further discussion can be found in the module on Discipline.  The manager using the carrot and the stick goes one step further and claims to praise those doing good work and disciplining those who do not.  There is no doubt that positive reinforcement (praise) will be more effective than negative reinforcement (abuse).  There is some question regarding the efficacy of using the stick at all.  A further problem arises when the carrot and stick is not consistently applied.  If the employee gets praise for something one day and abuse for something similar the next day, soon she won't have any idea what is expected.  This employee is even more likely to leave than if she was subjected to fear alone.

The "Economic Man" theory

The Economic Man theory subscribes to the notion that we all work for money which is true as far as it goes.  The theory suggests that the more money an employee is given, the more motivated he is to work hard.  If an employee gets a raise, will he work harder?  Probably for a while but soon the money he gets is seen as no more than what the job is worth and work goes back to its previous level.  The extra effort more likely results from the recognition of effort than the money itself.  Economic rewards include more than wages alone.  Benefits, bonuses and other perquisites are economic rewards as well.  What would be more motivating - the boss buying a drink for staff after a hard shift or giving each employee $5?  Most of us would prefer the recognition that goes with having the drink, especially if the boss joined in.  

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Abram Maslow was a humanist psychologist who came up with the theory that all people have needs which can be categorized into levels.  Lower level needs must be addressed before higher level needs will have any importance or impact.  Maslow's theory has become a key tool in human resource management in all sorts of business and industry.  In brief, Maslow maintained that people are motivated to satisfy their needs.  If we can give them the opportunity to do that in their work, we will have motivated employees.
 
Maslow's hierarchy looks like this:
 

 

  1. Psychological or survival needs
  2. These most basic needs refer to the bodily needs of the individual.  When a person is hungry or cold, they won't be interested in much beyond food or warmth.  If nothing else, the job is the employee's means for taking care of his physiological needs.  In food service, it isn't uncommon to overwork staff.  Their key motivation will be to get away from work for rest and relaxation.  If you've ever worked more than 14 days straight, or a string of days of 12 hours or more, or if you've worked shift work, you may be familiar with that sort of all-pervading tiredness.  Making sure that your staff have reasonable opportunity to rest and recover is probably one of the most important things you can do in this regard.  

  3. Safety and security needs
  4. The individual needs to be free from the potential for physical and mental harm, to have security and feel in control.  The chef that motivates by fear is actually attacking the employee's need for security, producing the reverse affect to what is intended.  If the employee feels she is about to be fired anyway, she will likely either quit or do the minimum, figuring that she'll be gone soon anyway.  As well, she will feel more secure if she has some control over her work environment - some input into decision making.  Review the discussion on Participative management.

  5. Social needs 
  6. People have a need to belong, to be part of the group, to be recognized and valued by others.   Belonging begins with simple recognition for the employee's contribution and importance to the operation.  Our employees are people with outside lives and interests and as far as we reasonably can, we need to respect that.  Scheduling is a key tool for motivating or de-motivating staff.  If the employee asks for a day off or other schedule change, we should arrange it if it is in our power to do so.  If not, we need to explain why not.  If we aren't willing  meet employee needs, they are likely to call in sick at the last moment.  Certainly we will have higher turnover and less willing workers.

    There are other things we can do to develop a sense of belonging.  Knowing about your staff and truly caring about their happiness and well-being will go a long way to developing loyal, motivated staff.  Recognition can be as simple as joining the staff for a drink or a chat after a busy shift.  Occasional staff parties are a good idea.  Certainly new employees need to be introduced to the rest of the staff and made to feel that they are welcome.  We do need to be aware that, as in all of Maslow's levels, different individuals have different amounts of need.  While some people are very social and crave group interactions, others will prefer to work in relative isolation.  As the manager, you need to try to understand each person's needs.

  7. Esteem needs
  8. The individual needs to feel that he is important and the work he is doing is worthwhile.  It's interesting that Maslow determined that acceptance and recognition by the group is a more basic need than self-acceptance.  Again, different people have different levels in each need - some are highly concerned with other peoples' opinions while others have little interest.  We can bolster and support self-esteem by giving people work they can manage, neither so simple as to lack challenge, nor so difficult as to be unmanageable.  If the employee sees little likelihood of success, she won't try very hard while if the work is too simple, she will get bored.  Recognition of good work builds esteem as well but we need to be careful of the "empty compliment"; too easily given, they don't mean much.  When an employee works harder after being given a raise, the recognition is more likely the cause than the money.

  9. Self-actualization or fulfillment needs
  10. The army has it right - "to be all you can be".  Everyone has the need to grow and develop.  The opportunity at least, needs to be there for the employee to learn things and develop at work.  Promotions from within are critical if the employee has the necessary skills.  If every position is filled from outside the operation, employees will soon see their jobs as "dead-end".  Part of the chef's job is to impart skills and training so that employees will be ready for promotion when the opportunity arises.

    Job sharing, job rotation and job enrichment are other ways to help employees grow and develop.   As well, the staff become more rounded, more able to do a variety of tasks, making management easier.  Jane might spend one month on the broiler then trade with Steven to do a month in the sauce station and trade again with Sarah to do a month in the cold kitchen.  Each employee gets a chance to do a variety of tasks.  Sarah might learn to do the purchasing when the chef is away or help with recipe costing.  Seminars might be offered to staff.  A wine seminar would be useful for the front-end staff but kitchen staff might be invited to attend if interested.  A food sanitation course is always a good idea.

Theory X,  Theory Y Management

Theory X managers believe that workers are basically lazy and stupid.  They won't do anything unless you force them to and whatever they do accomplish will probably be poor unless you watch them constantly.  There have been letters written to food service magazines and the like that follow this basic premise. "You can't get good people to work in food service.  The only people who work in this industry for any length of time are the losers and I've got the personnel records to prove it."  Of course, this is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy - if people are treated like they are stupid and lazy, that's how they'll probably respond.

The Theory Y manager believes that people have a need to work and will work hard at anything they see the reason for.  They are ambitious and will look for responsibility.  All that is necessary is to give people reasons they buy into and the tools to do the job (including training).  After that, guidance is all that is required.  In many ways, Theory Y management is much like W. E. Deming's "Total Quality Management".  Generally speaking, people will succeed or fail according to your expectations.  The excellent movie "Stand and Deliver" is a wonderful example - inner-city kids proved they had the ability to succeed in math in part  because their teacher expected they could - even though they previously thought they couldn't.

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Objective 3

When you complete this objective you will be able to...

consider other motivational techniques.

Learning Activity

Complete each of the Activities listed below :

In your notes:

Make a list of things that you have found motivates you at work or at school.  What makes them motivational?
Make a list of things that you find to be de-motivating.  Why?

Learning Material

Basically, if people are treated like they are important, like they matter, they are more likely to enjoy their jobs and do what is required without being pushed.  All too often, employers act like the job is not just the most important thing in the employees life, but the only thing.  Where reasonable, meeting scheduling requests can make a vast difference.

Of course there is a lot of truth in the adage lead by example.  If the chef is taking the easy road, there is little doubt that the staff will consider that to be the only reasonable way to go. 

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Kitchen Management 321
Last Modified May 2009, Garry Wall
Email to: grwall@shaw.ca